Novak Djokovic, the Serbian pro tennis player could be out of the Australian Open 2022, in light of the recent visa cancellation by Alex Hawke, Australia’s Minister of Immigration. Djokovic, who has 20 Grand Slams to his name, including nine Australian Opens, was looking for his 21st title to surpass tennis greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
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After being initially detained, his visa had been restored by a federal circuit court judge, and he had been drawn as number one seed earlier this week. While Djokovic’s lawyers have gone to court over Hawke’s recent decision, the Australian Open is due to start on Monday, January 17. This puts immense pressure on Djokovic and his legal team, who might not be able to obtain a favourable result on such short notice.
Who will take Djokovic’s spot?
Andrey Rublev, the Russian pro who was fifth seed, will move into Djokovic’s spot. Accordingly, French player Gael Monfils, who was 17th seed, will take Rublev’s place and the Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik will be added as 33rd seed in Monfils’ position.
This outcome works great for Rublev, who’d previously been boxed into a tough part of the tournament, likely to go up against the Croat, Marin Cilic, who has a Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open. He could also take on Félix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian firebrand in rounds three and four, respectively.
Rublev would also have to face Daniil Medvedev, current world number two, in the quarter-finals. Instead, being the ‘lucky loser’ taking Djokovic’s spot, Rublev finds himself in a position to avoid all top 15 players, till a possible quarter-final against world number seven, Matteo Berrettini.
What is a lucky loser?
A lucky loser is someone who loses in qualifying, but when a player withdraws due to an injury or personal reasons, the lucky loser gets back in the main draw. Usually, this player takes the spot of the withdrawn competitor.